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Todd McFarlane Give Update on SPAWN Film; Compares it to JAWS

Posted on January 9, 2018 at 10:52 am by David "Snackbar" Edmundson

I think I am one of the few people who actually enjoyed the original Spawn film. I loved the 1997 HBO animated series featuring the incomparable Keith David voicing the title role. So it suffices to say that I’m pretty excited and cautiously optimistic for creator Todd McFarlane‘s movie reboot on the property. “Cautious” because the micro-budget of about $10 million and the decision to sideline the title character for most of the film is quite the gamble; “optimistic” because I really want Spawn to succeed.

Creator/writer/director McFarlane recently spoke with AZ Central (via The Playlist) for Arizona’s upcoming Ace Comic-Con and the conversation, of course, turned to Spawn. McFarlane echoed some previous talking points but also offered up a new comparison, one that seems to cement the fact that the script (and realities of a small budget) will keep Al Simmons’ necroplasmic antihero off-screen save for a few short sequences.

Here’s an update on where the McFarlane Entertainment and Blumhouse Productions picture is right now:

We just signed off on the script, and are going into budgeting. We’re also having our casting meeting…It will be dark and heavy, serious, R-rated. It won’t be a superhero movie. I don’t think most people would categorize it as that. It will be a supernatural thriller, like a lot of good creep movies. The only thing in the movie that’s fantastic is Spawn, and anything else is otherwise normal.

Speaking of that rating:

We don’t want to muddy the waters. It’s R-rated. Not like “Deadpool,” where there was just a couple F-bombs and a naked butt. Not like “Logan” either…We’re talking trauma, true trauma, as serious as possible.

The most interesting comparison McFarlane has revealed so far is this one right here:

I like to explain that it’s my “Jaws.” Spawn doesn’t say a word the entire movie, and it’s the same way with “Jaws.” It’s about the sheriff and the people, chasing the ghost. That’s it…The lead role isn’t Spawn, the lead role is a cop, like Sheriff Brody from “Jaws.” I think we can hook a fairly significant actor that we want. Unlike a superhero movie, we wouldn’t need an actor to put on prosthetic (makeup) or go to the gym. We just need him to act.

That cop very well may be one (or both) of the fan-favorite duo of NYPD Detectives, Sam and Twitch, or possibly some new character entirely. And when you think about the character of Spawn (basically a demonic soldier created to lead Hell’s forces in a coming war, but who has a crisis of conscience), he does kind of make more sense as a shadowy threat looming just off-screen. McFarlane stopped just short of confirming the exact budget for the film, but $10 million sounds about right, and that should provide just enough special effects room for a few sentient cape and chain shots:

It was a non-negotiable for me to write, produce and direct. If you make that demand in Hollywood, it’s reasonable somewhat if you have an $8 to $12 million budget as a newbie director. Otherwise if the budget were $100 million, then I said I want to direct it, as a CEO myself, I wouldn’t take that deal … A couple movies ago they came out with “Get Out,” and spent $4 million with Jordan Peele, a comedian, who wrote and directed it. Somebody took a chance on him and his vision…Jason (Blum’s) movie “Split” spent $11 million and that one made close to $300 million. That’s not bad.

Blumhouse Productions have basically made their mark with low-budget features that reap massive returns and spawn (no pun intended) lucrative franchises. If Spawn doesn’t pan out for them, it’s not that big a loss; only 7 of the studio’s 35 releases to date have made less than $11 million at the box office. Four of those releases took home well over $100 million domestically, something Spawn is likely aiming for in order to give McFarlane & Co. a better franchise foundation to stand on. As a fan, I’m hoping for the same.

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